The Do’s and Dont's of Gift Bags: How to Make a Great Gift Bag

    Gift bags are a great way to say thank you to your guests for coming to your event. The gift bag is the last thing people will remember from your party, and if done right, could leave a favorable and lasting impression of your event in the minds of your guests. Check out our dos and don'ts on how to make great gift bags for business or social events.

    Do: Offer fragrance samples.
    Giving away a bottle of perfume is a great way to introduce new scents to your audience. However, make sure you are giving away an actual miniature bottle and not one of those tiny vials you can get at any department store. This is a great gift for men and women alike, as men can re-gift to a wife or sister and women can enjoy it for themselves. And you know what they say, our memories are linked to scents!

    Don’t: Give out coupons offering a percentage off.
    Coupons for percentages off are a bit tacky and are not seen as having real value; not very many people actually use them. In the end, the company with the coupon just seems a little cheap.

    Do: Put in free service and dollar value coupons.
    Give your party goers a free manicure at a local beauty salon or a free entrée at a nearby restaurant. Everyone ends up using these coupons regardless of the free perk, and if the first person gifted can’t find a use for it, they will just pass it along to a friend. The key to this gift is to make sure the coupon is printed on quality card stock with a sophisticated design.

    Don’t: Go for chocolates.
    If you live in a warm climate, a chocolate treat is definitely going to melt in your event space. Opt for something that can withstand any climate, like dried fruit.

    Do: Include a small bottle of water.
    It’s such a simple gift that everyone can use and is a great way to ensure your guests are well-hydrated after consuming cocktails!

    Don't: Add alcohol.

    Back in the 80s, it was trendy to add a small bottle of champagne to most gift bags. Then the miniature bottles of liquor were introduced and all of a sudden these items would go missing from the gift bags. Party planners and the liquor control board realized around the same time that giving away alcohol in a bag is illegal. So stick with the bottle of water!

    Do: Add skin-care items.
    Skin-care items are always a big hit in gift bags. A lot of women appreciate the opportunity to test a new product. Just make sure to choose items that do not have heavy perfumes as these can easily be skin-irritants for many people.

    Don’t: Do color cosmetics.
    Any product that is a unique color will most likely not suite everyone’s skin tone or preference, so it’s best to just avoid it all together. If you must include cosmetics, go for bronze and nude shades to suit a wide range of people.

    Do: Try hair-care products.
    Shampoos, conditioners, and hair gels are all great things to throw in your gift bag, similar to skin care items. The chance to try new products is always welcome, especially if the hair-care brand is an event sponsor.

    Don’t: Gift anything with more than 50 words.
    Shiny magazines may look nice but when put in gift bags, they essentially just take up space and often get tossed in the trash. Make any literature simple with fun graphics, or go with a small postcard or piece of art.

    Do: Provide mints.
    Mints are a great promotional tool for any company and are always appreciated by the recipient, giving your guests another way to freshen up after the event.

    Don’t: Cram in the key chains.
    One or two cute key chains are fine, but in general try to avoid them as they are extremely overplayed and underused.

    Do: Assemble your gift bags in pretty packaging.
    The devil is in the details! Presenting your gifts in well-designed bags and envelopes will leave a lasting impression. Also, if done right, your guests may appreciate the packaging so much that that they may reuse it for their own gift wrapping purposes.

    Don’t: Attempt anything too extravagant (know your audience).
    Remember when Oprah tried to give away a car to her entire live audience, and then everyone got mad because they had to pay taxes on it? Extravagant gifts such as cars are much more complicated, so avoid these gifts unless the budget or event calls for it.

    Do: Get creative with pens.
    Who couldn't use a useful gift like a pen? Everyone loves pens, especially unique and high quality ones. Try finding pens with clever features like flashlights, rotating pictures, and digital clocks.

    Don’t: Opt for corkscrews.
    Not everyone likes wine. Plus, most households already have at least two corkscrews.

    Do: Make sure everyone gets their gift bag.
    Line all the bags up near the exit door of your event venue and create an organized system to ensure all your guests go home with one of your fabulous gift bags.

    What was the best or worst gift bag you’ve ever received? Share with us by leaving a comment below, on Facebook or Twitter.